Justice
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Andrew C. McCarthy, contributing editor of the prestigious American conservative National Review magazine and member of that publication's pre-election "Conservatives Against Trump" juggernaut, has dismissed claims that President Donald Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice based on a precedent established by Trump's predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

"On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated.

"On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey publicly stated that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in using a private email server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The director acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, it was just a small percentage of the emails involved.

"Case dismissed.

"Could there be more striking parallels? A cynic might say that Obama had clearly signaled to the FBI and the Justice Department that he did not want Mrs. Clinton to be charged with a crime, and that, with this not-so-subtle pressure in the air, the president’s subordinates dropped the case — exactly what Obama wanted, relying precisely on Obama’s stated rationale.

"Yet the media yawned.

"Of course, they’re not yawning now. Now it is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, sending Comey signals. So now, such signals are a major issue — not merely of obstruction of justice, but of high crimes and misdemeanors."

This posture stands in stark contrast to the words of the same writer pre-election, who at that time wrote,

"The global jihad is complex, comprising terrorist organizations and abettors that include rogue nations and other shady accomplices. Their fluid alliances and internecine rivalries often defy the Sunni–Shiite divide. Matters are complicated further still by ideological allies such as the Muslim Brotherhood that feign moderation while supporting the jihadist agenda. The threat is openly aggressive on its own turf but operates by stealth in the West. A president may not have to be good with names to oppose it effectively, but he has to grasp the animating ideology, the power relations, and the goals of the players — and how weakening one by strengthening another can degrade rather than promote our security.

"Donald Trump does not have a clue about any of this, careening wildly from vows to stay out of the fray (leaving it in Vladimir Putin’s nefarious hands) to promises that the earth will be indiscriminately scorched. The threat against us has metastasized in our eighth year under a president who quite consciously appeases the enemy. But the remedy is not a president oblivious of the enemy."

Today, McCarthy is defending Trump. Which is not to say he has become a convert, by any means. He still sees the President as flawed, as evidenced by the next sentence in his recent defense of him: "Trump hysteria seems to be a permanent condition, a combustive compound of media-Democrat derangement surrounding a president who keeps providing derangement material. Let’s try to keep our feet on the ground, but with a commitment to get the evidence and go wherever it takes us."

McCarthy's reticence is what gives his assessment such value. He writes, "I must note here that concerns about obstruction of justice in the context of the reported Trump-Comey conversation are legitimate." He examines the arguments and finds them wanting. His conclusion, that veiled orders have not been considered the equivalent of obstruction, is stated, "There is no question that obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. But media hyperventilating notwithstanding, the basis for claiming at this point that President Trump obstructed justice is not there . . . unless you also think President Obama obstructed justice last April."